If You Were a Pizza…

Wednesday , 9, December 2020 Comments Off on If You Were a Pizza…

Delicious PizzaIf you were a pizza, what kind of pizza would you be?

I don’t ask this as an existential question or a thought experiment, though it may lead to such for you as you consider.

I ask because last night I had one of the strangest dreams I’ve had in quite a while, and it got me to wondering about the question above.

During my dream, everyone I interacted with was a “pizza person” and by that I don’t mean they liked pizza. I mean they WERE PIZZA.

Pizza bodies with little arms and legs sticking out from the edges of the rounded crust, and faces on the pizza topping.

It was weird.

I saw pepperoni, sausage, veggie, supreme and all other varieties of pizza people. I talked to them, and they to me. Other than their appearance, everything else was quite normal.

I don’t think I was a pizza, but to be honest I don’t remember completely.

Did I say it was weird?

Anyway, after I awakened from my Italian Alice in Wonderland dream, I got to wondering, “If I were a pizza, what kind of pizza would I be?”

I think I’d be my favorite; Alfredo sauce, Feta Cheese and Black Olives.

Or, my second-favorite; Red sauce, Black Olives and Mushrooms.

Might depend on the mood I was in.

And I won’t even get into the various crust types, lol.

How about you? If you were a pizza, what kind of pizza would you be?



The Queen’s Gambit

Monday , 30, November 2020 Comments Off on The Queen’s Gambit

I spent this past Saturday binge-watching “The Queen’s Gambit” on Netflix. Initially I had not planned on watching it, but several friends on Facebook were singing its praises and a couple of my co-workers were also recommending it, so I figured I’d give it a look.

I should say up front that I am a fan of the game of chess. When I was 8 or 9 a young man and his sister who were refugees from Cuba moved in with their parents across the street from us in Hialeah. Their parents did not speak much English, but Mario and his younger sister Marilyn were fluent in the language. Marilyn would babysit my younger brother and I sometimes and Mario taught me how to play chess. I loved the game, especially since it involved skill and strategy, as opposed to games of chance. But there weren’t many other kids in elementary school who knew how to play and it wasn’t until I got to junior high school that I was able to play different people.

One of my favorite gifts of all time came from my younger brother (that’s the case with a lot of my favorite gifts) who brought me back a chess board and pieces carved out of lava rock from his honeymoon in Mexico. My most recent games have been with my ten-year old middle granddaughter Abby a few months ago who, unlike her granddad, had an elementary school which offered an after-school chess club before COVID-19 shut things down.

Still, it’s difficult to imagine a seven-episode television series on the subject of chess being much of a draw, even to fans of the game. But, of course, the series deals with more than the game and is centered around the rollercoaster life of a young chess prodigy as she moves from discovering the game at the age of nine to the end of the series when she is twenty-two and competing in the Soviet Union in 1968.

So I started watching it without knowing what it was all about and, honestly, almost gave up after the first couple of episodes. However, I continued on and by the time it was over I was glad I did. It is an admirable look at overcoming situations you didn’t create and situations you did create, as well as the value of teamwork when it is not your default choice.

A big thumbs up for “The Queen’s Gambit” on Netflix.

Well, I noticed the other day that I haven’t done one of these kind of posts in almost 5 years and it’s time to remedy that.

Cans of WD-40These days, almost every professional and home tool kit contains a can of WD-40, which is used for a variety of lubrication purposes in the home, on cars, on boats, really on just about anything metal.

But do you know how it came to be?


Photo of old Rocket Chemical Company in San Diego, CABack in 1953, a fledgling company named Rocket Chemical Company of San Diego with only 3 employees was attempting to develop a product that would prevent rust and corrosion on missile parts for the aerospace industry by displacing water on surfaces before it could cause oxidation to begin. Scientist Norm Larsen was experimenting with formulas to achieve that result, but kept failing to find one that would work.

Finally, on his 40th try, he got it right and WD (Water Displacement) – 40 was born.

Now you know.

Voting By Mail and the USPS

Friday , 31, July 2020 Comments Off on Voting By Mail and the USPS

My wife mailed 4 packages of her candle products from Orlando to a customer in North Carolina on Monday morning, paying extra for Priority Mail service, which USPS promises will be delivered in 1 to 3 business days.

USPS Mail Truck Being Towed

Five days later they haven’t been delivered yet.

If you’re going to vote by mail this year due to COVID-19, as I have because of traveling for the past decade without incident, be sure to do so as early as possible.

With images!

Man holding head in pain in front of his laptopTwelve days ago I wrote about my beard growth and included a photo. When I posted it, not only did the photo NOT appear but I noticed that ALL my post photos from the past were also not showing. They were in the media library, right where they should be, but weren’t posting.

I then went to my hosting service to look into the files on the cPanel with the intent of checking for errors, but when I logged into cPanel it would not accept my username/password.

IT CartoonI instituted a chat with tech support and the guy was no help so I asked to be moved up to a higher level. Wouldn’t do it. Said I had to do what he wanted me to do. I typed a few choice words, left him the lowest rating I could, then sent an email to the host explaining the issue and asking them to fix whatever the error was within a week; otherwise I’d be changing my hosting service.


So I moved to Siteground, which I had used before for a friend of mine with his site. In the space of a little over an hour they had moved all my files for this blog, plus my Word of Jeff blog, plus Cindy’s Mountain Creek Candles site to their service AND found the error in the cPanel and fixed that for me so that all my images and photos were restored to their respective posts.

Customer service is a great thing.

I also purchased a new domain name and started setting up a site that I plan to unveil sometime in the next year or so. It’s a fun project and I’m looking forward to revealing it, but can’t say anything about it right now.

Test 2020_07_30

Thursday , 30, July 2020 Comments Off on Test 2020_07_30

This is a test.

“At first I didn’t like my beard. But then it grew on me.” – Unknown

Four months ago today, March 18, 2020, I left the beautiful island of Puerto Rico to return to Orlando for some medical appointments. Then, thanks to COVID-19, I discovered I wouldn’t be going back, or anywhere, anytime soon.

So I decided to not shave and, since we were self-quarantining at first and then practicing social distancing, not get a haircut either. And then I thought it might be fun to document the growth of the beard by monthly stages.

Jeff Beard Growth in 4 Month Stages


My beautiful wife was not real happy. For the first few weeks all I heard was “Woolybooger” instead of “Honey.” Then I just got dirty looks.

I finally had to agree to trim around my mouth just to get a kiss, lol, which I think you can see between month 1 and month 2. But otherwise, nothing else was cut, not even those wildly long white eyebrow hairs. Oh, and I also trimmed the ear and nose hairs as needed. No reason to go crazy with this thing, right?

And after the first photo Cindy told me I needed to at least TRY to smile because otherwise I looked like a murderer on the loose. So I tried in the next three photos.

Now I’m contemplating whether I should shave everything and go back to my normal goatee, or (since I’m likely not going anywhere in the field to work anytime soon) shoot for 5 and 6 months of untamed growth. I have enjoyed not having to shave each day or even every few days, but when I wake up in the mornings and see my reflection in the bathroom mirror with bed head and bed face I feel like I’m looking at the Tom Hanks character in “Castaway” after a few months.

What do you think?

Birthday 2020

Monday , 6, July 2020 Comments Off on Birthday 2020

This year’s birthday was a bit different, and not in a bad way.

Usually I’m working somewhere on the road, but this year, thanks to COVID-19, I was able to be with some family and take a short, quarantined trip out of town.

The day began with my middle granddaughter, Abby, making me a breakfast of scrambled eggs with cheese and fresh-cut fruit. In addition, she presented me with a beautiful handmade birthday card.

Abby’s Handmade Birthday Card Collage

Cindy also had a card for me. She was sneaky in getting out to buy one for me.

Cindy’s Birthday Card collage

Then it was time to log onto work remotely for the morning,

At lunch I was genuinely surprised to have Cindy, Amber, and Abby come into my work area singing “Happy Birthday” and bearing a Carrot Cake with a few lighted candles adorning the top.

After an appointment in the afternoon, Cindy and I left to spend the long holiday weekend at an oceanfront hotel not far from Orlando. Cindy knew I would enjoy a little solitude with her.

But first, we stopped by a couple of RV dealerships to walk through some different travel trailers to get a feel for how it would be to spend some time in one after I retire and see some different floor plans.

We weren’t too impressed by the sales staff or the models at either location, but I also realize they are experiencing a sales spurt right now as people try to figure out how to travel in the midst of a pandemic and someone who is “just looking” isn’t going to rate high on their attention level. Still, smart salespeople plant seeds for the lean times.

Hilton Room Cleanliness SealThe hotel was taken care of with points and overall was very nice. We had no intention of doing much interacting with other guests or staff, but it was nice to see all of the staff wearing masks and to observe evidence of high levels and practices of sanitation going on; such as marked off social distancing areas, personal service by staff at the usual breakfast buffet, plastic shields at the front desk station, and rooms sealed once they were certified cleaned and sanitized by housekeeping supervisors.


The only disappointment was that this hotel had no rooms with balconies, which was sad because Cindy likes to hear the ocean waves and planned to sit on the balcony since we wouldn’t be on the beach when it was filled with people.

Panorama Shot of Cocoa Beach from hotel window

But we did go walking on the beach early in the morning when very few people were out and we could maintain social distance.

Late that afternoon we had a FaceTime call with Ann, Mikey, and Heather. Ann had sent me a gift, which had arrived the day before we left, but as I was going to open it she asked me to look in my email first. There I found an Amazon gift certificate that I could use to buy the latest Jim Butcher novel which comes out later this month and Ann and I will read together and discuss as we have done with other novels.

Then I opened the package and found this delightful Star Trek/Spock X-mas ornament. She knows the green-blooded Vulcan is my favorite character, lol.

Ann’s Birthday Gift Spock X-mas Ornament

Saturday morning we were up and out early to be the first in the door at another RV dealership. Worked with an excellent salesman and really think we may have found the kind we are going to get…one day, lol.

We spent the rest of the weekend watching the “Fallen” movies (Olympus Has Fallen, London Has Fallen, and Angel Has Fallen) which somehow Cindy had not seen, watching YouTube videos about RV’ing, and reading.

Anything else, you don’t need to know about, lol.

When I got home I had an awesome birthday card from our family in the Pacific Northwest waiting for me.

Jade and Maxwell Birthday card


And there was a birthday letter and gift from my brother!

Birthday letter from Mark


It’s funny that he references the time we spent a weekend binge watching several movies at theaters (he also introduced me to Subway sandwich shops) because I was fondly remembering that weekend myself several days ago. I really, really enjoyed that time spent with my brother because we had not had the chance to do so much before that weekend.

And here I am with the awesome gift.

Mark’s Birthday Gift Back to the Future model car

Thanks as well to all who called, texted, posted, and messaged me with birthday wishes. They are all much appreciated.

Elvis Presley Quote on Values

Tuesday , 16, June 2020 Comments Off on Elvis Presley Quote on Values

Earlier today I was taking an online course titled, “Decision Making and Problem Solving” that is offered by my employer. It has the usual points this type of course would contain, but also includes points that we, as emergency managers making decisions that affect hundreds to thousands of people impacted by disaster, would also have to consider.

One of those points was considering the ethics of our decision-making process (as stewards of taxpayer funds, as well as being charged with public safety) and the effects of those decisions.

It’s a serious subject, so I never expected to see a quote by The King of Rock n’ Roll on one of the pages, but there it was.

Elvis Presley Quote on Values

I was so stunned that I thought it must be a mistake. Why would the late Elvis Presley, known for his music and movies and shaking his hips, have ever even had the occasion to comment on ethics and values?

But, sure enough, he did. And, here are a multitude of other quotes from him that people thought significant enough to gather in one place.

I don’t mean to imply he was unethical or had no values, not in the least, I just couldn’t imagine that it would ever come up in his conversation. In fact, I’m glad that it did. And it goes to show the multi-faceted sides of most people, sides we don’t often consider but should.

I left that online lesson today all shook up, in a good way.

COVID-19 Disaster Commemorative Coin

Friday , 12, June 2020 Comments Off on COVID-19 Disaster Commemorative Coin

Many times during a disaster declaration, especially larger events like Hurricanes Sandy or Harvey, a group of folks will conduct a contest for designing a disaster-specific logo to use as a commemoration of that declaration. Usually, the winning logo design will be offered on shirts, similar to our official uniform shirts and employees will purchase shirts to have to wear to future disaster declarations to show they served at those disaster events.

I have never been interested in purchasing those disaster-specific shirts. Heck, I don’t even wear my official uniform shirt unless I am told to do so by Federal Coordinating Officer or my External Affairs Officer, so I never saw a need to purchase disaster-specific logo shirts that I would never wear.

I ALMOST purchased one for the disaster where I first served as a Congressional Affairs Manager, just to have it hanging in my closet as a reminder of that occasion, and ALMOST did the same for the disaster where I first served as Assistant External Affairs Officer-Congressional Affairs for the same reason. But in the end I didn’t do so, knowing they would do just that; hang in my closet and eventually be thrown out.

But earlier this year when I was virtually deployed to the COVID-19 declaration for New Jersey, someone there on site offered something different than a shirt and something that was more appealing to me as an item of remembrance; a COVID-19 disaster commemorative coin.

I ordered mine and it arrived a few days ago here at the house. It is about 2 1/2” in diameter and 3/8” thick with ridges on the edge. I’m not sure what it’s made of, but it’s got a feel of substance to it when you hold it.

COVID-19 Disaster Commemorative Coin

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with it and would love to see something similar for future declarations. I’d much rather pass something like this along to my children or grandchildren when I die, instead of a shirt.